As a brand, Oris are one of the unsung heroes of the Swiss watchmaking industry. With a heritage that stretches back 115 years, a variety of in-house movements, and one of the most accessible price points for a Swiss brand, there’s a lot to be said about Oris.
The divers sixty five is ostensibly the most famous of this lineage drawing upon their classic heritage design and proportions from the 1960’s combined with modern watchmaking and a practical wear-ability.
There is an interesting dichotomy between identity and choice. While too much choice in various elements waters down the identity of a product, not enough choice alienates buyers as the product is not ‘quite’ what they’re looking for. Omega has often been the subject of criticism due to the amount of variants each model is offered in. For example thee are 20 different models of the Seamaster professional divers 300m including black dial, white dial, blue dial, grey dial, on rubber or steel, and with steel, ceramic, or two tone rose gold cases – however this pales into insignificance in comparison to the divers sixty five which is available in no less than 55 different models encompassing green, blue, black, and silver dials with indices or numerals, on a bracelet, leather, rubber, NATO, or recycled material. The case is available in pure steel, or a two-tone steel and bronze bezel, and there is a chronograph in the range too. As if that wasn’t enough, the divers sixty five is also available in three different sizes including 42mm 40mm and 36mm. However, while those with smaller wrists may consider veering towards the 36mm variant I would strongly urge you to try the watch on first. While the case size is 36mm, the defining factor for how large the watch looks on your wrist is in fact the dial diameter, and in the case of a dive watch with a bezel (even in this case a more slender one) the dial itself is of quite diminutive proportions and tends to make the watch look and feel much smaller than it actually is. I have 7 ½” wrists and I found the 40mm model a terrific size .
With all that choice on hand, there should be a divers sixty five for everyone! However, while some of the variants might seem like marmite – you’ll either love them or hate them, we think there’s one in the range that stands out as the sweet spot – namely the “01 733 7707 4055-07 5 20 45” or for those of you that don’t speak ‘Oris’ the ‘Blue dial 40mm in steel with a brown leather strap’.
The design of the Divers Sixty Five is a great study in component design. Where every element contributes to – and works together, to deliver the overall design aesthetic.
The dial is a deep navy blue that at times appeared almost black with applied indices filled with a vintage khaki lume. This felt entirely appropriate for a loyal representation of a vintage watch giving it a warm feel. The date is at 6 o’clock delivering a very balanced layout. The the case itself is simple yet elegant with lugs that protrude from the case that are clearly proportionate with the size and dimensions of the rest of the case. The top surfaces are brushed with the side profile offering a polished finish. The aluminium bezel is slim and in keeping with a vintage inspired piece allowing the watch to have a larger dial helping legibility. The screw down crown protects the winding stem and offers a greater level of assurance to the wearer against water ingress than gaskets alone. The beautifully domed sapphire crystal allows the watch to not only seem slimmer than it actually is but also helps it slip effortlessly under a cuff.
What’s particularly interesting is that although the overall height of the watch is 12.9 mm, it doesn’t look or feel it. This is due to the way the component parts of the case are made up. The case itself is only 5 mm thick. However the case back is curved and sits proud, the Bezel is an aluminium sloping bezel that is narrower at the coin edge and as we mentioned earlier, the sapphire crystal on top is domed. While all of this adds up to just under 13 mm in height, your eye is drawn to the profile of the side of the main case which is only 5 mm thick. This substantially reduces the wrist presence and heft of the watch. Believe it or not, it is actually slightly thicker than the original Tudor Heritage ETA Black Bay which was 12.7 mm.
Inside the Diver 65 is the Oris calibre 733 which uses the Sellita SW200-1 as its base movement. Though not a remarkable or in house movement it is a reliable, well established movement that is fitting for a watch in this price category – helping keep this an accessible Swiss divers watch.
Changing the strap on a watch can dramatically change the look, feel, and suitability for a given occasion. It’s clear that Oris understand this, as their straps are provided with helpful quick release spring bars encouraging you to buy a selection of them and change them as often as you do your attire. While this is becoming more popular with aftermarket straps, not only are Oris offering this on leather and rubber straps, remarkably they also fit their metal bracelets with quick release spring bars too. We’ve not seen before and its especially remarkable from an OEM. This not only makes it far quicker and easier to do but also significantly reduces the likelihood of scratching the case with a spring bar tool – something most of us are likely to do at some point.
A significant benefit of the 40mm Diver 65 is the 20mm lug width. For the larger and smaller models (42mm & 36mm), Oris increase the lug width to 21mm or decrease the lug width to 17mm (presumably this is to keep the overall proportions of the watch to exactly the same scale) however, If you do want to change the straps, having an odd lug width is an enormous pain. Both 21mm and 17mm straps are far more difficult to find and most straps are just not available in these widths, whereas almost all straps are available in 20mm.
Oris’s interpretation of a modern NATO is an interesting strap which comes fitted to a beautifully engineered deployant clasp. This provides the reassurance and comfort of a NATO strap with the convenience of a deployant .
One of our favourite straps was the r-Radyarn® strap. According to Oris, this is made from post-consumer recycled polymer and manufactured using processes that greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as water and energy consumption. The navy and khaki go extremely well and really add a touch of class while maintaining a causal look – like wearing a perfectly matched suit and tie. Although this was in fact a 21mm strap designed for the 42mm model, it wore extremely well and the extra 1mm was barely noticeable .
The tropical rubber strap was extremely pliable. This was in part due to its dimensions. Unlike thick clumsy rubber straps found on many watches Oris’s strap is 5.5mm thick at the case but tapers to 2.3mm additionally its width tapers from 20mm to 16.5mm at the buckle. These dimensions are commensurate with a soft fine leather strap which goes a long way to explain why it was so comfortable to wear. Along with the textured weave imprinted in to the surface, its one of the more elegant rubber straps we’ve seen.
While other dive watches may boast greater resistance against water ingress, this is more than capable of withstanding anything the average wearer may engage in – from swimming & water-sports to diving well beyond the depths required for a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver.
We have had the pleasure of spending some serious time with the Oris Divers Sixty five over a couple of months. Overall the Oris Diver 65 is a compelling package. Its an extremely capable everyday watch that offers huge practicality without sacrificing elegant aesthetics. This allows the watch to be dressed up and worn in more formal environments where more contemporary dive watches would be clumsy and out of place.
Its clear that a lot of consideration went into the design aesthetics and proportions of this watch which has resulted in a ‘cornerstone piece’ for Oris – embodying vintage styling from a Swiss matchmaker with real heritage. All for a remarkably accessible price point of £1270.
The Oris Divers Sixty Five is available from:
Do you own an Oris Divers 65 or are you considering buying one? We’d love to hear your comments and feedback below.